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Raise a concern

An important part of our work is dealing with concerns and complaints about osteopaths. We publish the outcomes of complaints made to us in our Annual Reports and our Fitness to Practise Annual Reports.

Complaints may come from:

  • members of the public, including patients
  • other osteopaths
  • employers of osteopaths
  • students of osteopathy
  • other health professionals.

Every osteopath in the UK must be registered with us and must follow our Osteopathic Practice Standards, which set out the standards and guidelines for the safe and competent practice of osteopathy

Concerns and complaints about osteopaths

Many concerns can be resolved directly with the osteopath in question. However, we want you to contact us immediately in any cases in which the osteopath is:

  • acting in a dishonest, indecent or violent way
  • working under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • having a personal relationship with a patient
  • examining or treating a patient without their consent
  • incompetent (when an osteopath’s work fails to meet the standards we set in our Osteopathic Practice Standards.)

If you are a patient and have other concerns about the treatment you have received, or the way your osteopath has behaved, the best person to talk to first is usually the osteopath in question. Many concerns arise from misunderstandings and it is often helpful to discuss your concerns with the osteopath first.

If you would prefer not to do this, you may be able to discuss it with another osteopath in the practice. Ask about the practice’s complaints procedure: all osteopathic practices should have one. If there is no one else in the practice, another osteopath may be able to give an opinion. Most will be pleased to help you.

If you are not satisfied that your concerns have been properly dealt with, or if you want further advice, you should contact our Regulation Department on 020 7357 6655 x224 or email regulation@osteopathy.org.uk. We are here to help you with any concern or complaint you may have about an osteopath.

There is also further information in our leaflet How to complain about an osteopath.

If you have a concern or an enquiry about an osteopath, or about treatment you have received, please call us on 020 7357 6655 x224, or send us your enquiry using our online form.

What we can investigate

We have a legal responsibility to look at complaints if:

  • an osteopath’s behaviour falls below the standards set out in our Osteopathic Practice Standards
  • an osteopath is guilty of professional incompetence because their work fails to meet the standards we set in our Osteopathic Practice Standards
  • an osteopath is convicted of a crime – if this happens, we will look at the conviction to decide whether it affects the osteopath’s ability to practise
  • an osteopath’s physical or mental condition is seriously affecting their work – if an osteopath has a health problem, we will consider how it affects their ability to practise.

Fitness to practise

The term fitness to practise means that osteopaths should have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their job effectively, they should have the health and character to practise safely and competently, and they can be trusted to act legally and responsibly.

Our Regulation Department is responsible for establishing and maintaining the standards of professional competence and conduct. It handles complaints about the fitness to practise of osteopaths on the Register, which can lead to a hearing before the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC).

Our Fitness to Practise reports, published annually, includes details of the decisions made by the PCC and any sanctions applied. When the committee investigates an allegation and decides that it is not well-founded, the osteopath can ask for this to be recorded in the next Fitness to Practise report. Find out more about fitness to practise.